Smith, Bueter lead volleyball to fourth straight win
Jordan Bueter and Kalina Smith combined for 37 kills, leading Central Michigan to a 3-1 victory over Northern Illinois Friday, Nov. 3, in McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas improve to 14-11 overall and 6-7 in the Mid-American Conference. NIU falls to 7-21, 6-7 in MAC play.
“I thought we had them on their heels all night,” said head coach Mike Gawlik. “We capitalized on their inability to execute their offense, which can be pretty potenet when it gets going.”
The win extended the Chippewas' winning streak to four straight matches. CMU also avenged a 3-1 loss to the Huskies from Sept. 30 in DeKalb.
CMU found itself in an early 9-3 hole, forcing a timeout that resulted in a 6-2 run that pulled the Chippewas within two. Northern Illinois would not let off the gas pedal, taking set one 26-24 despite CMU ending set one on a 10-6 run.
Freshman Kalina Smith lead set one with 6 kills while adding two digs and hitting an even .500. Sophomore Megan Kern added a set high seven digs.
Smith credited her success to freshman setter Grace Butler and Bueter.
“(Grace) is amazing, and I can give a lot of credit to Bueter,” Smith said. “(Bueter) is like my mama. She’s really helped me grow this year.”
The Chippewas started set two on a 7-2 run, which triggered a 7-1 Huskie run. The set remained back and forth until CMU went on a 7-4 run to take the set 25-21.
Set two featured eight tied scores and eight lead changes.
CMU came out of the locker room ready to play following the intermission. Smith’s 7 kills in the set were met with a high level of emotion, leading the Chippewas to a 25-17 victory in the third stanza.
The Chippewas kept momentum in the fourth set, holding leads as large as 12 points in a 25-15 set four victory, clinching the match 3-1.
“(Bueter and Smith) had phenomenal games on the left side,” Gawlik said. “(They) constantly kept pressure on (NIU) not only from the left side but also from the service line as well.”
Bueter finished with 19 kills and five digs, while Smith added 18 kills, six digs, and three aces. Butler finished with one killl, eight digs, and 49 assists.
The Chippewas have the opportunity to extend their winning streak to five matches tomorrow night against a familiar foe in Western Michigan.
“It’s just another game for us, but I know it’s going to be emotional,” Bueter said. “The focus is just on that match tomorrow, the first point, second point, and so on from there. We always want to beat western, but we want to beat every team we play.”
Central Michigan hosts rival Western Michigan tomorrow night at McGuirk Arena for senior night. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.